How to Make Sure You’re Playing by the Email Marketing Rules

How to Make Sure You’re Playing by the Email Marketing Rules

October 23, 2018

When it comes to marketing, there are countless touch points you can have with a client or lead. Engaging with their social media comments and shares, answering their inquiries on your site, and having great face to face conversations at events and trade shows are all important ways to nurture current and future clients.

Email Marketing Who?

One of the most underrated marketing tools at Shopify merchants' disposal is email marketing. In recent years, email has been dubbed the uncool member of the marketing friend group. A more traditional form of marketing that, with people’s inboxes increasingly jammed, was just not effective anymore.

Turns out, that’s just not true.

Shopify’s 2017 Black Friday Cyber Monday recap highlights the importance of email marketing as a way to boost conversions.

“This year, we also looked at how different sources performed during Black Friday Cyber Monday. Relative to other sources, email came in with the highest conversion rate at 4.29%, followed by search in second.”

This doesn't mean that the majority of orders were coming through email marketing funnels, but it does mean that those engaging with email marketing materials were more likely to convert. Is email marketing the only way to achieve boosted conversions? Of course not! But it’s safe to say it’s not a relic marketing tool and needs to be an integral part of your marketing strategy if it isn’t already.

Read Shopify’s full recap here.

Close up of people's hands as they work in an office.

The Rules

It’s important to know the dos and don’ts of email marketing before you undertake any email campaign. For Canadian readers, CASL or the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation has been fully rolled out since 2014 and it’s important to know what goes, what doesn’t, and the potential ramifications.

CASL applies to any and all CEMs (Commercial Electronic Messages). MailChimp does a great job of breaking down the details on what CEM consists of:

“A CEM is any message that:

  • is in an electronic format, including emails, instant messages, text messages, and some social media communications;
  • is sent to an electronic address, including email addresses, instant message accounts, phone accounts, and social media accounts; and
  • contains a message encouraging recipients to take part in some type of commercial activity, including the promotion of products, services, people/personas, companies, or organizations.”

Even service emails containing a small amount of marketing content fall into this category and are held to CASL's standards.

We at BentoSMB are not a substitute for your legal department. To be sure you are doing everything above board be sure to speak to your company’s legal counsel on the topic of email and spam legislation.

For more information on CASL click here.

For a practical breakdown and CASL and its implications click here.

Here's what you need to know.

CASL compliance infographic. 

What Do You Need to Do?

Before you send your next commercial electronic message (CEM) you must make sure you have:

  • Obtained consent (implied or express) from the person to whom the CEM is sent.
  • Included your contact information (i.e. email and mailing address) in the CEM.
  • Included an unsubscribe mechanism in the CEM.

First of all, make sure to refresh yourself and your team on these 3 points and ensure they are being met. MailChimp and other email management systems have templates that make these tasks easy to complete.

Second, set up policies and processes for your business surrounding CASL. Ensure compliance is being met with every staff member.

CASL infographic.

The Cost of Non-Compliance with CASL

Non-compliance with CASL can have very real financial implications for your business.

"Failure to comply with CASL can lead to tough penalties for individuals up to $1 million, and corporations up to $10 million, for violating its provisions."

Ensure you are meeting CASL compliance. Even for a small business, it is essential. Non-consensual communication, whether explicitly marketing or not, is a CASL violation.

Three women working in an office boardroom.

Now What?

Now that you know the rules, it’s time to start taking your marketing efforts to the next level.

Do you have consistent email communication going out to your clients and prospects on a regular basis? Do you have segmented lists in your CRM and email system that allows you to target and direct content to specific clients who tick certain boxes?

Making sure you have your email marketing machine in place can take time, but it is worth the investment.

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